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Interview with Mick Moss (Antimatter) | «There was a third arm trying to reach for the drugs and when I did I could get a mixed feeling of excitement and failure together»

moss4

 

Hello Mick, how are you today?

Hello, I'am fine, how are you?

 

Fine thank you! Are you ready to begin?

I have all the time in the world for you!!

 

Thank you! So, how are things with Antimatter these days?

Well, I am just coming off the process of the Black Market Enlightment album which has been an enormous effort. Antimatter is, and has been for the last 15 years, a one person band, so all the burfen of the work falls on my shoulders. So I just finished the cycle of recording and releasing the album and I'm just very very tired and I'm really waiting for the energy to come back. That said, I've done two tours since the album was recorded and also I'm putting up the finishing touches on something I have been recording and I'm hoping to release by the end of the year

 

Oh, that's nice! Are you happy with the feedback from the latest album.
It's been really positive you know. Many people say that is the best Antimatter album so far, some say it's the best since Leaving Eden. You know, some people have been saying that I'll never record something as good as Leaving Eden again.

 

 

I don't think that's true!

Well, hopefully I still got some good work left in me. Leaving Eden is 10 years ago. Just being back is amazing you know. I've got to keep working to be honest, otherwise I'll go crazy.

 

Why did you use this concept for the album?

I like working with concepts. Also, I'm a chronic overthinker, I always overanalyze my circumstances anf things that happened in the past, situations I've been. So, the situation that the album is built around is an issue that I had many years ago. So, it's already an issue that I have overthought about the last 20 years and it was bound to come out in lyrics and what I tend to do is, because I analyze any issue from many different angles, I will write many different songs about a certain issue, so what I do is I will group all of them together and that would be a concept album. So, each song was about a different aspect of the same issue. It is really biographicac, I write about things that happened to me or things I see.

 

So, there is always a concept for you for each album?

Yes, pretty much. I always say that the music comes from a very positive place inside me, cause when I was kid I did not have any brothers or sisters so I sought solace within music, and I had a turntable in my bedroom and it was just me and the music. So as I got older music was always with me and I got the edge to write music, so that comes from a positive side. But the lyrics come from a more analytical, critical side. I usually think about something and write down my thoughts on a notepad and if I want to visit something in the future I have a lot of stuff to tackle head on.

 

Is there a message then that you want to pass through your lyrics?

When I'm writing I don't particularly think about a message, because im writing in a more metaphorical way. With songs like The 3rd arm which is about addiction and making the same repetitive mistake every day, I don't think that this is very obvious in the lyrics because I written a metaphor, whereas Sanctifaction is about falling in love with LSD and the experience of being on acid, I don't think that's obvious from reading the lyrics. If I was thinking about conveying a message I would have written it in a different way so that everyone would understand. That said, the time for me to convey messages is during interviews.

 

moss1

 


I think that a lot of overthinkers would get the message even in metaphors.

Yes, you can always get the message if you've can relate to something, if you are aware of it you can decode and decipher it.

 

How does it feel to be able to talk to people though your music and have them react to it?

Obviously when anyone sends a message of connection it's a great feeling for me, it just means that when I throw things out there they don't fall flat on the floor. At the end of the day, I really mean that the music comes from a positive side, it's been my best friend really, and therapeutic for me mentally and to be able to go on a journey listening to other people's music and that's what music is for, to go through people's lives and elevate them from normality. So, if somebody tells me that about my music it reassures me that it is working.

 

You play all the instruments in this album. Do you like to experiment with these in general? Shall we expect something different in the future musically?

This time I specifically wanted to step back from lead guitar, because it has been guitar centered since Leaving Eden for over 10 years. I just wanted to explore instrument passages and with a lead instrument you miss that. I wanted that musical journey. Saxophone has been an ambition for me, it's such a magical instrument, even in Leaving Eden there was one song that I wanted to have a saxophone in it but we ran out of time and the same with the next one. This time I was determined to have it, and we did. And we also had flutes and qamancha, this eastern instrument. I didn't know what it was called but I saw it in Armenia when I was shooting The 3rd arm video and asked someone to find it for me. It just made the whole album have a lot of wealth in colour so certainly in the future I'll keep an open mind to which instruments I can use.

 

 

You mentioned earlier that you are writing something new, what is it exactly?
I can't talk too much at the moment, but it is not a new album, it's an archive record of something we did 3 years ago. But let me put a lid on that for the moment (laughs). The new Antimatter album is already written though, because I'm a prolific writer and I have many songs ready.

 

What made you decide not to release the album through a record company? Was there a romantic side to it?

There is a bit of a control freak in me that just wants to finger every hole, so I've been watching independent bands release EP's over facebook and the internet and I didn't realise that I was getting envious of that more and more through the years. So I really wanted to try and do that too, go on your own campaign and take care of things. I had my own company set up 10 years ago but that was just for live albums and smaller albums, and it was a great feeling to have a box of my live cd's and dvd's and sell them myself before concerts and have conversations with the fans. So I said that's great let's try and do that for a studio album and see how it goes. And I worked on Black Market Enlightment for 18 months with no guarantees that it will work, so that was very very scary but I enjoyed it and I'm happy I did it and maybe I'll do it on the next album.

 

moss3

 

Are you happy with the result? It was a big gamble

Yes exactly. I had to pay for the whole thing, pay for the fucking video too, and I was going through the finances and realised what a gamble it was but ultimately it paid out, so that was the right thing to do.

 

Will we be seeing a new video apart from the The Third Arm?

No I don't think so. I think I did everything I could about this album and I feel physically exhausted from it and I don't think I can go back mentally and do something. I would have loved to make a video for Partners in Crime, I had a great and sleazy idea for a video with people mixing up and indulging in alcohol and drugs but I'm already on to the next journey and the next album, so I don't think I'll go back to it.

 

So, what inspires you in life and in music?

Music inspires me, I love it as long as I remember, I remember reaching for my mom's records and my dad's Beatles records when I was really small. I had a tape with 2 Beatles songs, I think Penny Lane and All You Need is Love and I was analyzing the music and the drums and the bass and I was trying to immitate them and learn them. I am at spotify at the moment learning and finding new bands, so yeah music inspires me.

 

I'd like you to pick one of your songs and share with us the story behind it if you like

There are so many stories really. I'd like to talk about the latest album again since it is fresh and it would be nice for people to know where it comes from. So, it's about a time in my life where I was chronically smoking hash and I was waking up at around 4 in the afternoon and I would make a joint and smoke and then stay awake until 4am and then sleep for 12 hours. I was getting mental issues with the smoking and the hours I was sleeping. I knew I had to do something about it, I was kind of hijacked in my mind by the drugs. I knew that I had to wake up one morning and say that's it, if I could just make it through the morning I would be able to make it and stop. I could see myself reaching for my stuff and I was trying to keep my hands away from it and that's when I said that there was a third arm trying to reach for the drugs aand when I did I could get a mixed feeling of excitement and failure together which was very depressing. I was like that for about 9 to 10 years . I had a son in 1999 and that's what helped me change perspectives. So many people get hooked in some sort of cycle be it heroin, or alcohol, or cheeseburgers (laughs) and it's a horrible cycle to be in and they need some kinf of help to brake it.

 

 


You write all the music and lyris yourself. Is there some king of recipy you follow?

I think it was around August 1995 that I made the decision to buy a drum machine with Q base at my home PC, and not many people had that at the time, and an electric guitar with pedals and an old 4-track tape recorder and the idea was to be able to make music and not rely on people. I had been with about 4 bands at the time and it was always the same at the end 4-5 guys battling it out and I did not like that. So since then, i've been writing alone, I record the drums electronically and I play the bass and keyboards and obviously guitars and vocals. And I enjoy singing more than everything else, nothing beats the feeling you get after a good singing session.

 

How do you manage to combine your music and lyrics with such sentimantility? Is it based on experience or something else?

I always want to create a strong emotional feeling in my stomach that mathces what I felt when I listened to music that I loved. So I try to recreate that when I compose music and look for melodies and chord progressions that create knots in my stomach and as I say I feel like a surgeon operating on himself to create this feeling. I know that if it works on me then it must work on other people too I guess, who knows? Thats the angle where I work from. I've been writing and recording since 1995 so that's 24 years, almost a quarter of a century and if you do anything for such a long time you get quite good at it. If you play golf for 25 years you're gonna be considerably better than when you started. So, I'm not saying that I'm good, it's just a fact that with time comes experience. So if you try to create emotions for 25 years you'll be able to do it more and more as time goes by.

 

Is it true that you need a break from touring?

Yeah, I said that in early 2019, I was so tired after recording and touring for so long. There is no point in doing it if you don't feel like it. So I got home and talked to the guys from the live band, because obviously I'm not an octopus and I can't play everything live so I need to have people with me and they rely on me so I said, look I 'm kind of burnt out so we'll do one more tour and I'm done for a while. And we did the tour and I expected to hate it and just die to get home but it was one of the best tours I ever had and things happened, I changed the setlist and it became the best setlist I ever had, such a perfect flow of Antimatter songs and then I went home and said fuck, I wanna do more of that, so I changed my mind again (laughs). I will probably do one more tour for Black Market, maybe 10-12 days in the autumn.

 

What do you remember from the show in March?

It looks like the greek audience is shockingly good really invested in the music. I remember the first time we came to greece with Duncan, and then would exist back off the good will that people had for Anathema and it's good that we got away from that, because it's nice to live off the good will that people have for your music and your history and not your previous band's. I remember that in around 2008 I was struggling to get people to show up in Greece so we didn't come back for some years and we did this time and it was amazing, so many people and of course all this great food (laughs)

 

What are your plans for the next months?

For the next two weeks I'll be finishing the mixes for the release I was telling you about, then it's off to holidays to get some sun.

 

We have too much sun here, it's killing us!

Yeah I've noticed, you're lucky!

 

Is there something that you want to mention?

Everybody who has come to a show, bough a cd or a T-shirt, it all counts, it all tells me that it works. When you work in music, you invest so much energy, and just to get anything back, even a message, it means a lot. They say music is dead, but I see people on shows, cd's are selling, it's all happening. So I really want to thank all the fans for supporting us.

 

Thank you very much Mick, it has been a honour for us

Thank you too, and I hope to see you soon.

 

moss2

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Eleni Ktisti

 

Black Velvet Radio

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